Pindar, Athens and Thebes: Pyth. IX. 151–170

Classical Quarterly 9 (04):193- (1915)


The ninth Pythian is one of Pindar's masterpieces. It contains the romantic story of the love of Apollo for the heroic nymph Cyrene, which is the foundation-legend of the great city, and he attaches to the end of the ode another graceful love-tale which was a family tradition of the athlete's ancestors. The style of the ode is suitable to the subject, and the rhythm is partly Dorian, partly Lydian. Therefore the grand style which is maintained throughout, the style in which Pindar always excels, is richly mellowed and tempered with a certain lusciousness, a rarer quality of his work, but appropriate here to the romantic theme. And Pindar combines here the energy which is his birthright with a certain dignified ease and clearness, and his besetting faults of harshness, bitterness, or overpungency and overstrain are absent altogether. ‘Out of the strong hath come forth sweetness.’

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